John Spike Ivins from San Clemente and his friend Kevin Veal from Huntington Beach were enjoying some good yellowtail fishing at the Coronado Islands on Sunday when the pair spotted something floating in the water around 2:30 in the afternoon.
"Kevin and I saw something in the Middle Grounds (Coronado Islands) which at first we thought was a dead bloated sea lion. As we got closer to the floating object we were stunned to see human arms and legs: absolutely shocking," said Ivins.
Ivins said the body was bloated, decomposed with no hair or clothes. After discovering that it was a human being, Ivins called the United States Coast Guard. "They (USCG) asked us to stay with the body if possible," said Ivins.
"We gave our location and all our info as well as the bodies description to the best we could to the USCG. The dispatcher kindly asked if we could stay on scene until a recovery boat could arrive, and I humbly replied yes," said Ivins.
Ivins said that the body was in such a state of decomposition that it was almost unidentifiable. It wasn't until Monday when the discovery of the body had a more emotional impact.
"I know there has been speculation to the thought that the corpse may be Theo Mavromatis, the lost sailor from the tragic accident in the Newport to Ensenada race," said Ivins.
Mavromatis, 49, from Redondo Beach, and three other men were taking part in an annual Newport-to-Ensenada race when their 37-foot boat fell off the event's vessel-tracking system about 1:30 a.m. April 28, according to the Newport Ocean Sailing Association, which oversees the event.
Searchers later that day found the bodies of William R. Johnson Jr., 57, of Torrance, Kevin Rudolph, 53, of Manhattan Beach, and Joseph L. Stewart, 64, of Bradenton, Fla.
Autopsies determined that Johnson and Rudolph died of blunt-force trauma and that Stewart drowned, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office.
The U.S. Coast Guard suspended its search for the missing crewmember of the sailing vessel Aegean at 4:15 p.m., April 29, 2012.
The Coast Guard, Mexican Navy and civilian volunteers searched more than 600 square-miles.
"My wife sent me some articles on Mavromatis and that's when it hit home. I thought about his family and my kids today," said Ivins. "It's just very sad."
The body that was found near the Coronado Islands was confirmed today as Theo Mavromatis, the skipper of the Aegean who had been missing since last month's crash during the Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race, the San Diego County Coroner confirmed.
"All I can say is God bless Theo Mavromatis and his family," said Ivins.
Photo: US Coast Guard vessel arrives on scene at the Coronado Islands where fisherman found a badly decomposed body floating on Sunday afternoon. Photo credit: John Spike Ivins
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